A SMALL village in Papua New Guinea will be able to furnish and stock four new classrooms at its only school thanks to a project led by the Rotary Club of Mindarie and Mindarie Primary School.
The Ampan Project – named after the village north west of Lae, where the school is located – began in 2015 after a visit by club director Margaret Dull, who was also born there.
Ms Dull, who returns to the village three times a year, said she saw an expansion of the school was planned but there was a dire lack of school furniture, books, school supplies and other materials and thought the rotary club could help.
“We had been working with Mindarie Primary School on a project at the same time and when I mentioned the lack of furniture and supplies in Ampan, the school jumped at the chance to help,” she said.
“With the combined support of local schools, businesses and the community, we’ve been able to collect all the furniture we need as well as a container to get it to Ampan.”
The club bought a sea container in February from Mindarie Little Athletics, at a discounted price, with funds raised from the fortnightly Swap Mart in Clarkson.
The next phase of the project involves raising money for shipping costs, quoted at $6000, which the club hopes to do through the Swap Mart, other fundraising activities and donations from the community.
On April 24, the club and Ocean Keys Shopping Centre held a collection day and there will be a dedicated Ampan Project collection point at every Swap Mart until June.
Ms Dull said donations of good condition clothing for five to 12 year olds, picture books, pencils and crayons, writing paper, writing books, chalk and other school supplies were needed.
“We’ve been able to achieve so much with the help of our community and anyone who would like to support us further can do so just by coming to the Swap Mart with their contributions or cash donations,” she said.
The sea container will be dispatched in July and would take 45 days to reach PNG.
Ms Dull said Mindarie Rotary committee members and Mindarie Primary School staff would travel to Ampan in September to present the items and other donations to village elders at the opening of classrooms.
“We cannot wait to fill the new classrooms with all of these wonderful things that have been so lovingly donated by our community,” Ms Dull said.
In 2015, the Rotary Club of Mindarie raised $10,988 through its Swap Mart, with funds directed to the Ampan Project as well as other community initiatives.
It takes place every Sunday at the covered car park on Pensacola Terrace, open to sellers at 6am and buyers 7am.